By: Scott Emigh, Editor-in-Chief
Football season may have just started, but the high school sports season is well under way. We had initially planned on waiting till school started to begin naming a Sandite of the Week again, before realizing that some sports started several weeks before the school year. Out of fairness to the hardworking athletes who gave excellent performances over the last month, we have decided to retroactively name a Sandite of the Week back to August 13th when the first week of high school athletics ended.
August 7 through 13: Sydney Pennington
The athletic season began on Tuesday, August 9th for the Lady Sandite Softball team on a trip to the Claremore Festival where the girls split with a 13-0 shutout win over Mannford and a 5-0 loss to Coweta. Pennington scored two runs on three at-bats against the Lady Pirates, each from a single. Against Coweta she had a perfect batting performance with a single and a double on two at-bats.
On Friday the Sandites traveled to the Broken Arrow Tournament where they amassed a 4-2 record. In the opening game against Owasso, Pennington landed one of only three hits for the Lady Sandites in a 2-1 loss. In the next round the girls got payback on the defending State Champions from Choctaw. After being defeated 4-3 in the State Finals last year, the Sandites avenged themselves with a 4-1 victory in which Pennington scored two runs, one on a fielder’s choice and one on a home run. In the third game of the day the girls handled Putnam City North 3-1. Pennington scored a run and went to the mound for the first time this season. She didn’t give up a single earned run and allowed only four hits against seven strikeouts.
On Saturday the girls dropped a 6-2 loss to Durant and Pennington scored one RBI and hit two singles on three at-bats. Pennington went back to the mound for a 4-1 defeat of Edmond North and Pennington scored two runs on two walks. She allowed only one run, five hits, and zero walks against two strikeouts.
In the tournament finale against the host team, the Sandites prevailed 3-1 to take fifth place out of sixteen teams. Pennington scored one run and two RBI with a perfect batting performance. Two singles, one double, and a home run.
Pennington is a senior and is verbally committed to Oklahoma State University. She is the daughter of Amy and Brett Pennington. This is her third time being named Sandite of the week.
August 14 through 20: Jacie Taber
Charles Page High School sophomore Jacie Taber entered week two of softball with a 2-1 record from the mound, but a series of impressive games bumped her up to 5-1 by the end of the week.
In the first game of a Tuesday night double header against Norman, Taber didn’t give up a single run in the 4-0 shutout. She allowed only three hits and three walks against six strikeouts. In game two she got on base with a double and scored in the 10-0 run rule shutout.
On Thursday the Lady Sandites played a double header against their Highway 97 rivals from Sapulpa. They won the first game 6-0 and the second game with a 10-0 run-rule shutout. In game two Taber got it done on the mound and at the plate, scoring one run and two RBI on three hits for a perfect batting average with two singles and a double. In only five innings she pitched ten strikeouts and only gave up one hit and two walks.
On Friday they headed to the RSU Festival in Claremore and Taber scored a run with a single in an 11-0 shutout run-rule victory over Muskogee. In the next game they played last year’s 5A State Runners-Up and defeated Pryor 3-0 with Taber on the mound. In five innings, Taber gave up only two hits and five walks and struck out ten batters.
Taber is the daughter of Amy and Ronnie Taber. Her father and two older brothers are stars on the Sandite football team. Ronnie played on the State semifinal team in 1988. Jacob, a former SOTW, just graduated after leading the team to the State Finals as Defensive Captain and is currently a freshman at Fort Hays State, while Josh made a great season debut this past weekend as a receiver and defensive back. This is Jacie's first time as Sandite of the Week.
August 21 through 27: Gloria Mutiri
CPHS junior Gloria Mutiri is a 6’2” left-handed middle hitter who has only been playing since the eighth grade. But despite only discovering the sport a few years ago, you would think she was born on the court. Mutiri has been the leading scorer all three years at Charles Page and is one of the top competitors in the entire state.
This was a less than stellar week for the Sandite Volleyball team as a whole, going 2-4 for a seventh place finish at the Broken Arrow Tournament. But Mutiri excelled, averaging nearly 5 kills and 5 digs per set.
The Lady Sandites dropped a close one to 4A No.4 Victory Christian. They won two sets 26-24 and 25-22, but couldn’t pull it together for the whole match. Mutiri smacked down 22 kills and 5 blocks in the exciting match.
At the Broken Arrow Tournament the team struggled with communicating and gave up several close matches that could have gone either way. In the first match, Mutiri got into a shootout with Malia Leatherland of Tulsa NOAH Home School and both scored 31 points in the wild 3-2 loss. The Sandites won the first two games 25-16 and 29-27 before the Jags rallied for wins of 29-27, 25-20, and 15-13.
The next match was mostly a blowout by No. 3 Norman North, but the Sandites didn’t go down without a fight. They were the only team to win a set against Norman North in pool play and prevented the shutout with a 25-20 win. The other three games only scored a total 27 points for the Sandites, however.
Mutiri posted 23 points and 9 aces in a 3-1 win over Moore during pool play, then added 19 in a 3-0 victory against Moore in the placement match. In between matches against Moore, the girls played a tough one against Bartlesville, losing 3-0 in hotly contested sets. The Bruins didn’t win a single set by more than five points. Over the course of the tournament Mutiri scored 23 aces in only 19 games.
Mutiri is the daughter of the late Reverend Chantal Mutiri and has four sisters, three of whom also attended Charles Page. She is a two-year starter on the varsity basketball team and has been named Sandite of the Week once before for basketball.
August 28 through September 3: Cheyenne Walden
Sand Springs will be hard pressed to ever find a runner as gifted, hard-working, and sportsmanlike as senior Cheyenne Walden. The three-time Cross Country State Champion and three-time Track State Champion not only beats her competitors by impressive margins, but she then stops at the finish line to cheer them on and congratulate them when they finish.
Walden has broken her one-mile personal record two weeks in a row with first place finishes in both events. The Sandites rarely participate in one-mile runs and this was the first year she’s officially clocked one since the Sapulpa race in 2013. In the first race this year, two Saturdays ago, she beat her PR by eight seconds with a 5:23 mile at Kiefer. This past Saturday she shaved another two seconds off for 5:21 at Sapulpa, beating her closest competitor by fifteen seconds.
This is Walden’s fifth-straight Cross Country victory. She went undefeated in the state of Oklahoma her junior year, and only came in runner-up one time at the Fayetteville Chile Pepper Festival.
Walden is the daughter of Angela Rhodes and Alvin Walden. Her sister, Kaitlyn Walden is a freshman this year and has also been performing well in JV and finished her mile in 7:07 for sixth place. This is Cheyenne’s second time being named Sandite of the Week.
Sandite of the Week is a weekly recognition given to any one person with significant ties to the Sand Springs community who accomplishes remarkable achievements during the Sunday through Saturday week preceding the award. Prior achievements may be noted in the article, but do not bear direct influence on the selection committee which only considers prior week accomplishments. Candidates may be nominated by anyone by emailing SanditePrideNews@gmail.com. The award is not given to anyone in consecutive weeks, but any recipient may be nominated and awarded again in the future, so long as the weeks are not consecutive. Final selection is made by a majority vote of the Sandite Pride Editorial Board.
Businesses or organizations seeking to sponsor the Sandite of the Week award may contact the above email for inquiries.